Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Over the past 3 years I’ve watched Diana grow in her faith and in the kind of person that she is. I’ve watched her do things that I never thought she could do. I’ve listened to her talk and write about her students, about the Haitian people, about the living conditions, the food, the beauty of this country, the insects and most aspects of life here. When she would come home at Christmas or for summer break she would tell me stories about Haiti and usually end by saying “oh I want you to meet these people, I wish you could see it”. There were times when I really wanted to go but the timing never seemed right and money was always a factor. I often wondered in the back of my mind if I would ever really go. In September, shortly after another tearful goodbye to Diana as she went back to the country that she loves, my Mom encouraged me that I needed to go to Haiti for a little while and see it and spend some time with Diana. I decided that I agreed. So I made plans to come for 12 days in November.
I came to Haiti to visit my dear friend. What I never expected was to have my heart broken. I never expected that I would actually like it here. I never expected to have thoughts and feelings so foreign to me that I don’t know what to do with them.
Yesterday I went to an orphanage in a nearby village. There were lots of children, all different ages and they wanted to be held, and hugged, and played with and SEEN.
They wanted someone to SEE them.
And I sat there holding a few of them and I looked around, looked at their faces and I just wanted to take them all home. And I can’t even write words that can express what I felt. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a mommy or daddy to take care of me, I don’t know what it’s like to be thirsty and hungry. I don’t know what it’s like to not go to school and learn. I don’t know what it’s like not to have clean clothes or a proper bed.
A few days ago I traveled to visit two families that live in tents in the mountains. Diana brought them shoes that were sent from Canada. The joy that they had when they tried on those shoes was the best! The kids were the sweetest and they latched onto me and held my hand and I could have stayed there all day. I watched them interact with Diana; they know her face, her voice, her smile. She visits them each week and she cares for them and there is a deep part of my soul that wishes that I could know them the way she does, the kind of knowing that comes from being present, not just here today, gone tomorrow.
Last night Diana took me down to the Church of Hope for one of their evening worship services. I watched and listened to the people praise. I’ve never seen worship like this, so desperate for God’s presence, for Him to change the country, for Him to provide, so thankful for His love. I saw a demon being cast out of a woman; she could not even say the name of Jesus before. His name is powerful!
With God's help and direction, The Mission of Hope is changing this country.
I find that interwoven amongst the incredible needs in Haiti is much beauty and laughter and joy and possibility.
So I find myself in a new place, one I’ve never been before. And I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m not sure how to come back home to Canada knowing all of these things in my heart and having seen them with my own eyes, in real life, not just on the television or computer screen. They aren't just distant faces in some distant place, they are beautiful people with names and eyes that stare into your soul, and they have sat on my lap and held my hand and touched my skin because it's a weird colour. And having been here I see that I cannot leave without being deeply effected and I don't yet know what it means for me but I know that I'm thankful.
I'm thankful that for some reason, deciding to stop putting it off, I came. I'm thankful that I have love to give and arms strong enough to hold these little ones. I'm thankful that God loves me despite my ignorance and despite all the attention I give to "petty problems". I'm thankful that God works here and there and in the theres I know nothing of. And I'm thankful to have known the best kind of love; the kind that is behind me, in front of me, beside me, above me, below me and inside my heart.
Thank you Jesus for your love that is available to every person no matter where they're from or what they've done.
And so if you're like I was and you never really thought about going somewhere like Haiti or you're putting it off for some other time....
If you have love, give it.
And I can tell you, now that I'm here, that you won't leave the same.
May you be inconvenienced with the thought and desire to go somewhere new, somewhere different, somewhere that needs you and what you have to give, even if you go only for a short while, just go.
I am being reminded that the world is a big place and it's full of things that will break our hearts, things that we don't understand, and it's full of things that will make us laugh, things that fill us up with so much joy that we overflow.
And I think it would be a shame if we let this life pass us by without feeling it all.
Here's to living life being FULLY ALIVE,
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Currently we are receiving mixed messages - "Just a tropical depression" becomes a Level 3 Hurricane headline from day to day. The storm alert colour changes by the hour from red to orange to yellow and then back again. Friends in Port-au-Prince, LaCay, Titanyen, SourceMatelas, Simonette, Minotrie, Cabaret are all at high risk to the unknown. Once again, they find themselves on the frontlines of harsh elements and preparing for the worst.
Every time I look out towards the ocean my heart has a tendency to sink a little deeper. The cloud cover is thickening - and so is the burden for so many suffering people. For a country that has already suffered so greatly, it is difficult to swallow yet another disaster.
But beyond the forecast - beyond the storm radar - beyond the questions and the uncertainties, there is an Anchor that can be trusted far greater than any force on earth.
Once again, may we be made weak so we know the strength of the One who's strong.
Once again may our faith be tested and tried and true.
And may we be able to testify that words of Jesus - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As you've read on the news, the Cholera outbreak has been on the frontline in Haiti as well as our minds. MOH clinic has sent out many supplies to St. Marc (where it was originally diagnosed), and our medical staff have prepared our ward for local patients. The good thing about Cholera is that it is very treatable and easy to recover from if you can get proper medical attention in time. The problem with Cholera is that it hits very severely and can cause dehydration to the point of death in a matter of hours. It is also very contagious in areas of poor hygiene. Praise the Lord that our hospital beds have not yet been swamped by the epidemic. Please keep praying for Haitian villages near and far that the disease will not spread any more and that clinics around the country will be able to treat cases appropriately. We are thankful for the continual flow of nurses and doctors who staff our clinic and the full time staff who provide organization and constancy as well as effective communication with other medical professionals in Haiti.
In other news, my students are back! The van der Mark family returned yesterday and I look forward to greeting a class size of 6 tomorrow morning! Noah will now have another fellow grade 6er (Grayden), Caleb will continue in grade 5 and blend along with the older boys in some subjects, Bridgely is going into grade 3, and Ana and Mina will be starting grade 2! I am anticipating a great year ahead! Please keep the van der Mark kids in your prayers as they transition back to life in Haiti, and pray that I can spark an enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of my kids throughout the year.
Speaking of school, Idelie has started teaching 6 of the mountain kids during the weekday mornings and it's going really well! I sat down with her on Monday after school and I am so thankful for her heart for the kids and the importance she is placing on not just educational standards but on their spiritual growth, and their health and well being. Especially with the current infections that are spreading, I was really concerned for the families who retrieve their water from the local water source. Idelie told me on Monday that she was teaching the kids about approriate hand washing methods and providing them with clean water to drink. Thank you for your continual prayers for Idelie and the children (Wala, Jean Bertan, Shaylyn, Marie Rose, Senson and Dida)! See below a more recent picture taken of the kids (all except for Senson - he was out in the garden with his dad). From bottom left - Peterson, Dida, Mikaielle, Shaylyn, Marie Rose - From top left - Wala and Jean Bertan.
Last but certainly not least: 3 cord production is off the hook! The women come in for a full day of sewing and braiding on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it is going awesome. After school, I make my way down to the 3 cords lab and absolutely love working and laughing with the women. After the day is done, I proudly display their handiwork in our tuck shop (see below). Just one problem: We can't seem to be making enough to keep our display table stocked... Only hours after I put the day's work on the table people are requesting more. The Lord is surely blessing this business and the ladies who come each week! In addition to the women's daily salary, I look forward to sharing more of the directions that we will be heading with the money we have raised soon!
PS - If you want one - you better speak up fast!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Remember the slumber party I wrote about a couple weeks ago?
Friday, October 15, 2010
Last October you may remember about me writing about 3 children that crossed my path on the mission road at dusk. Their desperate need mixed with hopeful eyes left me searching for answers as I climbed the hill that evening, wondering if I would ever see them again.